Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been in politics now for over two decades. By the sheer length of his tenure in politics, he could be termed as a regular politician. Still, the strange story of Naveen's 'politicaldom' is: Chanakyas figure out every now and then in the ruling BJD's political destiny since the past two decades.
Odisha has been reading the stories of Naveen and his Chanakyas since his greenhorn days. The legend of ruling by Chankyas dominate even in the grey years too. Right from Pyari Mohapatra to Pranab Prakash Das and VK Pandian, the fables of Chanakyas running the Naveen show dominate every storyline in the State.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has failed in re-writing the script in circulation throughout his ruling years. Every time the Chief Minister junked the talks as 'low blows', some new names pop out in the BJD cupboard. And the regional party has to live up with that --- right from Pyarimohan Mohapatra to late Kalpataru Das and now the Pranab-Pandian combo.
The Chanakya episode in BJD stole the limelight when party MLA and senior leader Soumya Ranjan Patnaik on Tuesday presented a narrative on Naveen's two eyes - Pranab and Pandian - and the urgent need for a 'third eye'. From Bijoy Mohapatra, Ramkrushna Patnaik to Soumya Patnaik, the unique narrative that runs throughout has been that --- Naveen is not a man of his own.
Notwithstanding to the denials by CM himself, the tongue keeps wagging in the State. The moot point is what that is fuelling the fodder for the Chanakya fables?
As per political observers, in politics, some actions speak louder. They cited the instance of an announcement made by Naveen Patnaik himself.
- March 5, 2020: The three-time MLA from Jajpur Pranab Prakash Das was elevated to the post of Organisational Secretary in the regional outfit. The appointment seemed to be a routine affair for any political party in the country. But...
- ... The announcement of the elevation was made by CM Naveen Patnaik in person, an act hitherto never witnessed in the history of ruling BJD.
- In fact, the convention in BJD has been the making of such appointments via press release.
More Instances of Actions
- October 2, 2019: CM Naveen Patnaik launched the pro-people governance called 'Mo Sarkar' and '5T', the responsibility to monitor the implementation of the BJD's peoples' charter has been vested with VK Pandian (an IAS officer and Pvt Secretary to CM)
- September 19, 2012: Soon after the aborted coup, stated to be engineered by the late Pyari Mohapatra, Kalpataru Das, the then MLA Dharmasala and a staunch Pyari baiter, was inducted into Naveen's Cabinet. Portfolio given - Parliamentary Affairs - a post usually given to veteran and trusted political lieutenants.
- 2014 General Elections: Late Kalpataru Das had been the chief political adviser to CM Patnaik. He adorned the chair left vacant by the erstwhile adviser Pyari Mohapatra.
- April 3, 2014: Das was sent to the Upper House. And was made the BJD Parliamentary Party leader. Significant here is Pyari Mohapatra had also been sent to Rajya Sabha by Naveen Patnaik during his greenhorn days and was made the Parliamentary leader of the party till Aug 4, 2012.
- Year 2000: It's the time when the late Pyarimohan Mohapatra had emerged as the Chanakya for the newly appointed CM - Naveen Patnaik. He went on to become all-in-one in BJD - party strategist, fundraiser and political adviser. The role, which late Pyari Mohapatra had even admitted to in public. Here too, actions verified Pyari's statements - beeline of bureaucrats and leaders at his Saheed Nagar residence in the heydays.
In the long stint of Naveen Patnaik in Odisha politics, though the Chanakya characters keep changing, Patnaik failed to erase such impressions germinating in the soils of State politics. At the pinnacle of Naveen's success in the State's poll history, political observers feel that staying afloat of the 'Chanakya episode' in State politics will be remembered as one of the colossal failures of Patnaik as a regular politician.